80-horsepower Savic electric motorcycle debuts down under
Savic Motocycles has just made its first public appearance at the Melbourne Motorcycle Expo, with a new electric cafe racer it's planning to have on sale by 2020. The top-of-the-range Alpha bike will pack 60 kW (80 hp), with a max range around 250 km (155 mi) around town and a price tag around US$14,500.
Founded by 26-year-old Melbourne engineer and MBA holder Dennis Savic, this new company is focusing on high performance and simplicity, as well as keeping prices low. As such, its entry-level Omega bike will cost just AU$12,000 (US$8,700) – albeit with a gentle 20-kW (27 hp) motor.
The bikes are built around a simple, curved steel tube frame. While this prototype shows the large, finned battery box as a separate unit, in the production bike, battery and motor will be integrated together into a single, liquid-cooled, L-shaped unit that forms part of the stressed structure of the frame.
Again, while this prototype uses large, cylindrical battery cells, Savic tells us the production bike will use a more compact arrangement of pouch cells. The maximum battery size should be around 11 kWh, and the fastest bike, the Alpha, will run at around 150-155 volts. The heaviest production bike should be around 180 kg (397 lb), which is far from overweight, and there will be significantly lighter versions available with the Delta and Omega bikes, which use smaller motors and batteries.
The Alpha's 60-kW (80-hp) motor would make for a ripping ride if Zero's jaw-dropping 70-hp SR is any indication. Peak torque, available at all times through the direct drive single-speed powertrain, is around 150 Nm (110 lb-ft), and top speed should be around 160 km/h (100 mph). Savic himself, who once owned a Vectrix electric scooter, says the prototype is terrific fun to ride, with a smooth, quiet magic carpet-like feeling to it.
Will it wheelie? Savic laughs and says, "The prototype, I haven't tried. But I'll be very surprised if a 60-kilowatt motorcycle can't get the front wheel up!" Early bikes will offer customers the ability to spec their own forks, shocks, wheels and tires.
While the bikes are fully Australian designed, Savic is open about his manufacturing realities: "We've set up a supply chain in Taiwan. We really had no other option, we could get parts fully made for less than the price of the materials here in Australia." The first production run is expected by 2020, and will be around 50-100 bikes. Savic plans to sell this first run in Australia before looking to expand his distribution networks.
It'll be an interesting test case for the Aussie electric motorcycle market, as there's very little in the way of fast charging infrastructure down under at this stage. Couple that with a lack of government subsidies or tax breaks on low emissions vehicles, and add on a fairly conservative biker market, and Savic might have an uphill battle on his hands. Vectrix and Zero, for example, couldn't find a way to make things work in the Australian market.
On the other hand, Vectrix and Zero may have played their hand too early. As electric transport tech continues to trickle into the public consciousness in the form of electric cars, e-bikes, skateboards, scooters and all manner of other conveyances, people become more receptive, and economies of scale begin to kick in. And if Savic manages to hit his price points, he'll be able to offer pretty decent packages targeted at the green commuter or short-range twisties rider.
Dennis Savic has applied a considerable degree of determination, smarts and pragmatism to get things to this point. We wish this young man and his company all the best, and will stay in touch as Savic moves toward production.
Source: Savic Motorcycles